We all feel anger sometimes. Anger is one of the many important and informative emotions among the repertoire of human emotions. For some of you however, anger is a scary and dangerous emotion, whether to feel inside yourself or to witness in others. Here is a starting point in helping you shift your experience of anger from being dangerous and out of control, to being important information about what you need.

  1. Give yourself permission to feel anger. It’s not realistic to require of yourself to never feel or express anger again. Anger itself is not a problem, but if you believe your expression of anger toward others or yourself is a problem, keep reading. It’s possible to feel anger, to identify what your anger is telling you about your needs, and to respectfully advocate for yourself around those needs.
  1. Develop a greater general awareness to all of your emotions. Ask yourself regularly throughout a day, “How am I feeling right now?” If you’re not used to knowing how you feel, then start by using broad categories of feelings like, sad, mad, happy, scared, surprised, hurt, content. Eventually expand your vocabulary by googling a list of feeling/emotion words.
  1. As much as you can, make the connection between your anger and what your anger is trying to communicate to you about your needs. The next time you feel angry, ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” When you communicate what your needs are in a calm, firm, speaking-volume voice, then you dramatically increase your chances of getting your need met, and your anger reduced.
  1. Deal with issues that bother you well before they build and escalate into anger. If something between you and another person feels unfair or frustrating, rather than shoving it down, address it early on. This way you won’t be holding on to resentments that accumulate and eventually want to explode.
  1. The next time you feel anger, try saying the phrase, “I feel so angry right now.” It’s the truth, and your anger will feel wonderfully validated in that moment. It also buys you half a second of time to breath and to ask yourself to stay calm and respectful toward yourself and others.
  1. Set ground rules for communication with anyone in your life that you tend to have hurtful encounters with due to the damaging expression of anger. Write these rules out in a calm, set-aside time. Think about including guidelines such as: No talking over each other. Listen, without interruption. Bring up only one issue at a time. No name-calling. No touching each other during a disagreement. No finger pointing. And whatever else you feel is important for respectful communication.
  1. Regularly engage in de-stressing techniques like meditation, prayer, guided imagery exercises, yoga, or grounding exercises. We all know the value in doing physical exercise for good physical health, well, de-stressing exercises contribute to good mental and emotional health.